Oleksiy Sai: What am I Doing Here?
15 November —
16 December 2018

selected works


Voloshyn Gallery is proud to present the solo exhibition of Oleksiy Sai, entitled What Am I Doing Here?

What Am I Doing Here? is a new urban micro-series that further develops the ideas of Sai’s large-scale praxis project Excel-Art. Sai has been working with Excel software as a visual language resource since 2004. The first exhibition entitled Excel-Art was held at the Tsekh Gallery in Kyiv in 2007. The artist sees the abstract language of numbers, graphs and diagrams as the only possible mode of addressing the life of clerks and office workers, that is, the strata presently associated with average employment. Artists tend to ignore office drudgery as inconsequential and banal. Insofar as artists engage with it at all, they tend to do so indirectly, through satire and other gestures or strategies not devoid of critical intent. Counter to this approach, Sai offers a markedly neutral and objective representation of the life of office workers in all its facets.

Over the last couple of years, Sai has been rethinking the role of the “office” lifestyle as a social norm, depicting office workers as a semi-extinct species that will soon depart from the historical arena. “What am I doing here?” is a question a bewildered person asks him- or herself, suddenly grasping his or her incongruity to the present circumstances. Many types of social interactions, including changes in models of corporate culture, which encompass relations between workers and their colleagues or employers, are being redefined, and the results of the process are hard to predict. Therefore, it is all the more important to seize the moment and document the life of this disappearing species before it turns into an archeological specimen.

The artist’s choice to embrace the software developed to process large corpuses of data is also an attempt to demystify art practice as such. Excel is standard software that comes with the Microsoft Office package, so even the least experienced computer users will have solid understanding of how these works were created. The aesthetic properties inevitably accumulated by the prints Sai constructs in Excel appear as an excessive byproduct rather than as a creation of an artist privy to the arcane knowledge of the nature of art. At the same time, painstaking monotonous tweaking integral to working with Excel and producing Excel-art is perfectly in keeping with the rhythm of office work: office workers are faced with the necessity to meticulously process large volumes of data. Only one detail supports the aura of an artwork around Sai’s prints: despite the fact that these images are obviously easily reproduced, they programmatically exist in one copy only.

Oleksiy Sai was born in 1975 in Kyiv, where he lives and works to this day. He graduated from the Kyiv College of Arts and Industries with a degree in graphic design in 1993, and from the Department of Easel Graphic Art at the National Academy of Fine Arts and Architecture in 2001. PinchukArtCentre Prize nominee ’09, he is widely exhibited. Oleksiy Sai took part in many group and solo exhibitions in Ukraine and abroad. His works were exhibited at Black Square Gallery (Miami, the USA), Saatchi Gallery (London, the UK), Bunsen Goertz Gallery (Nurembreg, Germany), PERMM Museum of Contemporary Art (Perm, Russia), etc.

Founded in October 2016 by Max and Julia Voloshyn, Voloshyn Gallery specializes in contemporary art. It showcases a broad range of media in contemporary art, hosting solo and group exhibitions.

Voloshyn Gallery fosters the integration of Ukrainian art into global cultural processes, representing its artists at international art fairs and shows in Europe and the US. Voloshyn Gallery aims to discover exceptional talent, with particular focus on emerging and mid-career artists.

Its cutting-edge exhibition space is located in Kyiv’s cultural and historical center, on Tereshchenkivska Street, in a historic 1913 building formerly owned by a renowned entrepreneur and philanthropist N.A. Tereshchenko. The collector and philanthropist Bohdan Khanenko bought the building for his wife Varvara, renovating it as a revenue house. Its second floor was envisioned as an exhibition and storage space for Khanenko’s expanding museum of fine arts.

Maksym and Julia Voloshyn have been active in the art business since 2006. Their first gallery, Mystetska Zbirka Art Gallery, specialized in classical and post-war 20th century Ukrainian art. In 2015, the Voloshyns made it to the Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list.


Voloshyn Gallery

Kyiv, 13 Tereshchenkivska Str., enter the 2nd courtyard through the archway

+38 067 467 00 07, +38 044 234 14 27,,

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